Wessinger Walk-Off HR In 10th Lifts St. John's Past Northern Illinois, 11-9|
Feb. 25, 2012
LUBBOCK, Texas - St. John's was forced into extra innings despite leading 9-1 after six frames, but Matt Wessinger launched a two-out, two-run walk-off home run in the 10th inning as the Red Storm overcame five errors to defeat Northern Illinois, 11-9. Wessinger finished 3-for-5 with three RBI to lead St. John's (2-3), while Zach Lauricella connected on a grand slam for his first-career home run and Jeremy Baltz was 3-for-5 with three runs scored. James Lomangino (1-1) earned the win in relief, while Sean Hagan took the no-decision, allowing just two runs, one earned, in 6.2 innings of work. Alex Klonowski was 3-for-6 with a home run and four RBI to pace Northern Illinois (0-4), while Micah McCulloch was 2-for-2 with two RBI. Kyle Glancy (0-1) took the loss, allowing two runs in 1.1 innings.
St. John's took a 1-0 lead in the second inning as Wessinger led off with a single and promptly stole both second and third to give the Red Storm a runner on third with no outs. After Martin Kelly was plunked and Sean O'Hare walked to load the bases, Lauricella grounded into a double play and Wessinger trotted home.
The Red Storm used a two-out rally to extend the lead to 2-0 in the third. After Taylor Nawrocki retired the first two batters, Baltz singled through the right side and stole second before Wessinger walked. A passed ball moved the runners up to second on third before another passed ball allowed Baltz to score. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases, but a Lauricella fielder's choice ended the inning.
Northern Illinois got on the board with an unearned run in the fifth inning after a leadoff walk to Joe Battaglia set the table. Hagan retired the next batter, but a Jamison Wells single set up runners on the corners with one out. Wells then stole second, but an errant throw to second allowed Battaglia to score and put the Huskies on the board.
A grand slam helped pace a six-run fifth as St. John's went up 8-1. Pat Talbut and Baltz opened the inning with back-to-back singles before Kelly reached on an error to load the bases. After a bases loaded walk to O'Hare forced in a run, Lauricella stepped to the plate with the bases juiced for the third time as many at-bats and launched a grand slam down the left field line to make it a 7-1 game. The Huskies went to the bullpen with two outs and Ben Etcheverry promptly issued back-to-back walks to Jimmy Brennan and Anthony Iacomini. Both runners advanced on a double steal, but a throwing error allowed Brenan to score.
Following another pitching change, Baltz drew a leadoff walk in the sixth and Wessinger followed with an RBI double as St. John's went up 9-1.
Northern Illinois got the run back and chased Hagan in the seventh. After a one-out walk and a single, Hagan induced an infield fly for the second out and was lifted. Klonowski then greeted Jerome Werniuk with an RBI double before a walk loaded the bases and St. John's brought in Jake Woodward, who induced a fly out to end the inning.
The Huskies took advantage of an error in the eighth to plate five runs, just one earned, and close to within 9-7. Stephen Rivera took the mound and retired the first batter he faced before plunking Jordan Rishavy. Brett Frantini then reached on an error before McCulloch followed with an RBI single, but an error in left field allowed Rishavy to score. After a walk and a strikeout, Klonowski followed with a three-run home run.
Northern Illinois, however, took advantage of the Red Storm's fifth error to tie the game at 9-9 in the top of the ninth. Lomangino relieved Rivera and allowed back-to-back singles before a sacrifice bunt set up runners on second and third. After a dropped pop up allowed a run to score, McCulloch tied the game with an RBI double.
St. John's stranded a runner on third in the bottom of the ninth and the game went to extra innings.
Lomangino worked a scoreless frame in the 10th and St. John's wasted no time in getting the win in walk-off fashion. After Talbut drew a one-out walk, Wessinger stepped to the plate and launched a two-out, two-run home run to give the Red Storm an 11-9 win.
St. John's concludes play in the Brooks Wallace Memorial Classic at 2 p.m. on Feb. 26 against Texas Tech.